Ismaع - Listen: Strategies Document

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Strategies Document

Table of Strategies

As part of the Ismaع project, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (the Commission) investigated existing initiatives that address anti-Arab or anti-Muslim prejudice at a local, state and federal level across Australia. We conducted research and requested information about current initiatives from seven federal government agencies, 37 state and territory government agencies (including education and police authorities), 83 local governments (mostly in areas with substantial Arab or Muslim populations) and 14 non-government and community organisations. Additional information about current strategies was also obtained via the consultation process and from over 50 separate meetings with government agencies, community organisations and select individuals.

The Commission found a wide range of existing initiatives aimed at dispelling anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination. The following table provides brief descriptions of select projects and initiatives which have specifically sought to address anti-Arab or anti-Muslim prejudice, discrimination or vilification in Australia since 11 September 2001. While the following list is by no means exhaustive, it provides a useful overview of these projects and initiatives as described to the Commission. Website addresses have been provided where possible.

Agency Project Description Duration
  National      
1. Australian Federal Police (AFP) Islamic awareness workshops The AFP has held Islamic Awareness Workshops attended by AFP members nationally and is currently developing a workshop encompassing Islamic and Asian cultures. These workshops have involved various members and leaders of the Muslim and Arab community speaking to police on topics including racial discrimination and Islam and its beliefs and customs. 2002-03
2. AFP Liaison with Muslim community leaders

After September 11, each of the AFP Executive Teams in respective regions sought to develop strong relationships with Muslim and Arab communities. Specifically:

  • General Managers within Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth offices initiated and developed strong relationships with leaders of Islamic Councils in respective states. Formal and informal lines of communication continue with Islamic Councils as part of this outreach program
  • Representatives of the Islamic community have presented to AFP members on Islamic issues
  • AFP has addressed Muslim students in relation to discrimination and fears held by the community
  • Female AFP members have attended meetings with female members of the Islamic community in Brisbane to discuss issues and concerns they may have in dealing with the AFP.
2001-ongoing
3 Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF) funded by Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) Living in Harmony (LIH) community grant Believing in Harmony project

The project allowed students to hear first hand from other Australians whose religious views may be different from their own. It offered them the opportunity to understand the meaning behind different views and encouraged them to keep an open mind when listening to others. The project produced a resource kit 'Achieving Harmony through Religious Understanding: A Resource Manual for Teachers' which was designed to guide teachers through a four week activity program. At the end of the program, teachers were encouraged to plan their own religious forum so students can hear first hand from their own local religious clergy. 3000 kits were produced and distributed to education departments and schools around Australia. An online version of the kit was also available for downloading on the AMF's website. Users of the kit were asked to evaluate its effectiveness. Feedback indicates it was well received by teachers and students who used the resource in general English classes, studies of religion classes and in special theme subjects.

For more information see:
www.amf.net.au/rsch_research_harmony.shtml

2002-03
4 AMF in association with World Conference on Religion and Peace, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and Monash Universities. Funded by DIMIA under the LIH Partnership Program Religion, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion in Contemporary Australia

The aim of the project was to hold a series of consultations with religious, government and community organisations as part of a broader study of religion, cultural diversity and social cohesion in contemporary Australia. A series of fourteen inter-faith focus groups (including Muslims) were held in states and territories across Australia. The purpose of these focus groups was to gather information about the feasibility of an Inter-Faith Council to act as an advisory body for government and non-government agencies, gain a better understanding of activities of the various community interfaith groups and identify emerging issues and trends. The project research team included Professor Des Cahill (RMIT), Gary Bouma (Monash University), Michael Leahy (Deakin University), and Mr Hass Dellal (AMF). The report of the project will be released mid-2004 and will be used as the basis for informed debate and outline the actions needed by various community sectors to achieve social cohesion in the area of religious and cultural diversity. Other outcomes include a booklet on Muslim Australians by academic Abdallah Saeed and a resource kit to provide community groups, education institutions and government and non-government service providers with a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in Australia.

For more information see:
www.amf.net.au/rsch_research_religion
DiversityCohesion.shtml

2002-04
5 Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau (APMAB) National forum on safety issues affecting Muslim communities in Australia APMAB brought together representatives from the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), the Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV), the Victorian Board of Imams, Victoria Police and other multicultural leaders for a meeting under the theme 'Developing Partnerships and Working Together'. The meeting included discussions of key issues facing members of the Muslim community including how to work more closely with police to ensure safety and how to improve recognition of Muslims as members of Australian society. The aim of the meeting was to open new communication channels between Australian Muslim communities and police and reassure community members that incidents of racial vilification would not be tolerated and that perpetrators would be dealt with to the full extent of the law. 15 December 2002
6 APMAB with funding assistance from the AMF Practical Reference to Religious Diversity for Operational Police (2nd edition)

The reference book seeks to help police deliver culturally appropriate services includes information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) spirituality, Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, and Sikh Faiths. General background information about each religion is provided together with information about key religious festivals, sects, and worship practices. Also highlighted are issues relating to death, gender and family roles, physical contact, religious practices and policing (including examples of how religious teachings may impact on the delivery of police and emergency services).

For more information see: www.apmab.gov.au

2nd edition printed 2002
7 Centrelink Community profile featuring Muslims A community profile featuring Muslims was distributed nationally to Centrelink staff in response to popular demand from staff and managers throughout the organisation who were actively involved in encouraging greater awareness and understanding of Islam as a counter to uninformed and inflammatory reporting in some sections of the media. Distributed 3 October 2001 and annually before Ramadan.
8 DIMIA Living in Harmony

DIMIA has administered the LIH initiative since August 1998. The initiative comprises of three linked elements - a community grants program, a partnership program, and a public information strategy incorporating Harmony Day held on March 21 each year. The initiative aims to promote community harmony and address issues of racism in Australia. DIMIA has supported numerous projects which counter anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice through its LIH community grants and partnership programs. For example, in 2002, 42 LIH community grants were awarded. Of those grants, two had an inter-faith focus including the Islamic community, five projects worked with Arabic groups to promote community harmony including one grant which provided mentoring for young Arabic boys. In 2003, 44 LIH community grants were awarded. Of these grants, 10 projects focussed specifically on addressing anti-Muslim prejudice or had an inter-faith focus which included the Islamic community. Of the remaining grants, ten projects addressed anti-Muslim or anti-Arab prejudice more generally.

For more information see:
www.immi.gov.au/multicultural/harmony/

1998 - ongoing
9 DIMIA LIH partnership project with AFIC Towards a Better Understanding of Islam and the Muslim Community in Australia

The partnership focused on developing a better understanding of Islam and Muslims in Australia, through facilitating informed and accurate reporting in the media and producing information, articles and media releases on Islam/Muslims. Activities have included media training for Islamic community leaders, development of a national media policy for AFIC and the establishment of a network of state and territory based media officers. The booklet 'Appreciating Islam' which provides accessible information about Islam was also produced and distributed. 60,000 copies of the booklet have been printed and distributed widely.

For more information see: www.afic.com.au

Jan 2002-March 2003
10 Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), National Council of Churches in Australia and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews (ANDCMJ)

ANDCMJ formed to provide leadership in a time of increasing international tensions and conflicts, to support and encourage Australians to respect the rights of religious communities and their places of worship and ensure that issues overseas do not intrude on the stability and tolerance of Australian society.

For more information see:
www.minister.immi.gov.au/cam/media/media03/
h03024.htm

Launched 21 March 2003.
11 DIMIA in partnership with Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia (FECCA), National Council of Churches, Executive Council of Australian Jewry, AMF, Council for a Multicultural Australia, National Council of Migrant Resource Centres and Migrant Services Agencies Australian Partnership of Ethnic and Religious Organisations (APERO)

APERO was established in response to the climate of conflict caused by recent terrorist attacks and Australia's military commitments in the Middle East. APERO members include representatives of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindi, Baha'i and Sikh faiths as well as the World Conference for Religion and Peace, AMF, Adult Multicultural Education Service, Council for a Multicultural Australia and the National Council of Migrant Resource Centres and Service Agencies. The partnership works closely with government to ensure that community harmony is promoted and government policies and programs do not discriminate against or disadvantage any particular faith or ethnic community.

For more information see:
www.fecca.org.au/Partners/APERO

Launched February 2003
  New South Wales (NSW)      
12 Affinity Intercultural Foundation (AIF) funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant Building an inter-faith community project

This project seeks to address fundamental misunderstandings around issues of different faiths by bringing groups from both Christian and Islamic faiths (especially Turkish) together in the Ryde and Auburn areas of Sydney. The project aims to develop a self guided program for use by other faith groups and will provide training to all participants on dialogue and listening skills.

For more information see:
www.immi.gov.au/multicultural/harmony/
grants2003/grant2.htm

2003-04
13 AIF Various

AIF was founded in 2001 to create and sustain enduring affinity and relationships with people through inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogue and understanding. AIF runs a variety of activities designed to promote broader understanding and awareness of Islam and foster dialogue between Muslims and various religious groups. Activities have included:

  • Auburn Gallipoli Mosque Open Day (held 1 September 200)
  • Private tours of the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque (offered as an on-going service to school groups and any other interested organisations or individuals).
  • 10 week education seminars (offered free) on Islam
  • Muslim Visit to Our Lady Queen of Peace Church on 22 March 2002. The visit coincided with the Muslim celebrations of Eid-ul Adha featuring the time of pilgrimage to Mecca and the remembrance of Prophet Abraham as the common point in religious history where Judaism, Christianity and Islam meet. The visit was filmed by ABC TV and featured in the Compass 'Encounters with Islam' program. The visit was also in response to an earlier visit by the church to Auburn Gallipoli Mosque expressing its solidarity with the local Muslim community in the aftermath of September 11.
  • Annual 'Friendship and Dialogue Dinners' - members of the Muslim community share dinner during Ramadan with teachers, principals, academics, Church leaders from a number of Parishes of diverse Christian denominations, Jewish groups.
  • 'Travelling Together' Muslim-Christian Dialogue Conference. The conference was held April 27 2002 in Sydney, attended by 500 Muslims and Christians. The theme of the conference was, 'Travelling together' and the main topic was 'Peace & Dialogue in a Plural Society; common values & responsibilities.'
  • Culture, Multi-culture and Universalism Conference - 3-5 October 2003. Organised with the University of Sydney, the conference investigates the historical, sociological, cultural, musical, artistic and literary interface between cultures and what this can mean for Australia.
  • Public Forum entitled 'Christians & Muslims growing Peace in Baulkham Hills Shire'. This was initiated in partnership with the Columban Mission Institute Centres for Christian - Muslim Relations and the Hills Multicultural Network - 17 May 2004.
  • 3rd International Interfaith Conference. Held on 26 and 30 May 2004 with the theme 'What is our Future Together: Muslims, Christians and Jews', organised jointly by the AIF, Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW (CRC), NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, United Muslim Women's Association, Muslim Women's National Network of Australia, Auburn Gallipoli Mosque, Al-Ghazali Centre for Islamic Sciences and Human Development, Columban Centre for Christian - Muslim Relations, Parramatta Catholic Diocese, Feza Foundation and Uniting Church NSW Synod.
  • 'Fear and Fascination: The Other in Religion' Conference organised by AIF in partnership with the Australian association for the Study of Religions to be held in mid July 2004.

For more information see: www.affinity.org.au

2001 - ongoing
14 Australian Arabic Communities Council (AACC) Racism Register

The AACC responded to September 11 by setting up the Racism Register to document individual complaints of racist incidents in the community as well as negative media coverage that people found offensive. In its first week the Racism Register logged over 50 complaints.

For more information see: www.arabcouncil.org.au

2001-ongoing
15 AACC Cross-cultural workshops and seminars

Since 2001, the AACC has delivered cross-cultural awareness seminars to government and non-government service providers with Arabic-speaking clientele. Interest in these seminars has risen significantly over the last two years. Demand for more specifically tailored cross-cultural awareness seminars from government service providers such as Centrelink, TAFE and some local area police commands, has also risen significantly since 2001. On request from specific agencies, the AACC staff has conducted numerous seminars and talks on a range of agency specific issues relating to Arabic-speaking clientele.

For more information see: www.arabcouncil.org.au

2001- ongoing
16 AACC Media Strategies for Arabic Community Workers Seminar

This was a half day seminar which included information on mass communications and media, textual analysis, language and representation, orientalism and race and representation in Australia, news organisation, news values and news production, analysing news output: content analysis and transitivity and an overview of the legal framework governing media operations in NSW.

For more information see: www.arabcouncil.org.au

April 2004
17 Baha'i Community of Australia Culture of Peace Seminar 'Elimination of Religious Prejudice' This is part of an annual series of seminars organised by the Baha'i Community of Australia and includes speakers from the Buddhist Council of NSW, Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, Uniting Church of Australia and the Baha'i Community of Australia. 8 May 2003
18 Canterbury City Council Canterbury Inter-Faith Harmony Project

This project aims to create a network of religious leaders who will meet regularly to promote inter-faith understanding at a local level and enhance the skills of religious leaders to address issues of racism, and to respond collectively in times of crisis. Activities will include Open Days at places of worship, specific tours for local schools in May 2004, community harmony workshops at schools and working with the media.

For more information see:
www.canterbury.nsw.gov.au/interfaith

Nov 2003-October 2004
19 Chabad House of the North Shore in cooperation with the Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations (FAIR) Goodness and Kindness Campaign

The campaign was launched in the wake of September 11 to foster the compassion within school communities, and by extension in the broader community. The first program was conducted in a state primary school in June 2002. Since then over 1,000 children have participated in the project. The project involves joint visits to schools by representatives from Islamic, Jewish and Christian faiths who encourage children (primary school Years 3-6) to discuss how they will make a difference to their school community through an act of kindness. In 2003, the program received a DIMIA LIH Community Grant to enable facilitators to visit more schools together in Sydney, the Central Coast and Armidale. 80-100 schools will be visited. This activity will be supplemented by the production of a cooperative craft project.

For more information see:
www.goodness.org.au

2002-04
20 Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW (CRC) Hotline

A telephone hotline was established on 13 September 2001 to assist community members experiencing problems resulting from the attacks on September 11. Initially, a 24 hour Arabic hotline was set up and from 14 November 2001 a Punjabi language line was open from 5pm- 9pm. In the first 5 weeks following September 11, Arabic and Punjabi hotlines received 400 calls. Around 13% of callers had contacted police by the time they contacted the hotline. There were some complaints about police responses. Evidence collected through the hotline suggested that the events of September 11 impacted heavily on community relations in NSW. Calls to the hotline tapered off significantly after 5 weeks. In October 2002 in response to the Bali bombings and throughout the lead up to and outbreak of hostilities in Iraq, community members had the capacity to report incidents of abuse, insult or discrimination to the Commission via the following mechanisms:

  • Hotline (1800 80 41 41) - this was monitored by Commission staff during business hours, and by bilingual (English/Arabic) counsellors between 5.00 pm and 9.00pm, Monday to Friday. All calls not answered within 15 seconds were diverted to a message bank.
  • Language specific message bank - following the escalation of hostilities in Iraq, the Commission established three additional hotlines (Arabic, Turkish and Indonesian) to facilitate individual reporting incidents of abuse, insult or discrimination.
  • Email - an email address (help@crc.nsw.gov.au) was also established to enable the recording of complaints.

There was a marked decrease in calls once hostilities in Iraq abated. This lead to the decommissioning of the language specific hotlines on 19 May 2003. The telephone and email hotlines are both monitored by Commission staff on a daily basis and remain as permanent features at the Commission.

Researchers from the University of Technology (Sydney) (UTS) are currently conducting analysis of data from the hotline. The project will evaluate the impacts of the events of September 11 2001 on community relations in New South Wales. The research will focus on the impacts on community harmony for members of diverse ethnic, religious and language groups. The research will produce recommendations for both policy and projects that aim to minimise future negative impacts of such events. The research will build on the body of research on both media representation and occurrences of racist violence to focus on identifying best practice and developing constructive suggestions for improvement in media practice and in policies and projects in community relations.

For more information see:
www.crc.nsw.gov.au

13/9/01 - 5/10/01 18/10/02- ongoing
21 CRC Community Harmony Reference Group

In mid-October 2002, the NSW Premier directed the CRC to establish and convene the Community Harmony Reference Group to deal with community unease following the attacks in Bali and to ensure a coordinated rapid response to any local community relations issues which may arise in the wake of international events. The group consisted of 45 leaders from Islamic, Jewish, Arabic, Iraqi, Turkish Indonesian and Sikh communities along with representatives from government agencies including the NSW Police Force, the New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board (NSW ADB), Department of Education and Training (DET) and the Department of Community Services. After the project's establishment, three working groups were formed to address issues of community concern and to implement projects that assisted communities during times of community relations crises. The working groups focused on issues such as those pertaining to the Arabic and Islamic communities, education and public discourse. A Steering Committee was initially formed to establish the working groups. Once the Working Groups had established their own identity and there was no longer an identified need for the Steering Committee and thus was subsequently abolished.

For more information see: www.crc.nsw.gov.au/crc/chrg/index.htm

October 2002 - August 2003
22 Coolaburoo Neighbourhood Centre funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant My First Community The project seeks to address prejudices formed by children (6 - 12 yrs) towards non-Anglo cultures and non Christian religions in the Canterbury and Bankstown areas. It seeks to do this by producing quality resources which will be developed through workshops held at primary schools. These resources will then be distributed to other primary schools, community and government organisations. 2003-04
23 Dr. Helen McCue (Mara Consultancy) funded by the Myer Foundation with representatives from the Muslim Women's Association and the Muslim Women's National Network of Australia Women in Islam: HSC Studies of Religion Teachers' Kit An education kit designed to improve high school students' understanding of women in Islam for use by 12,000 students in the NSW HSC Studies of Religion program. The kit contains an overview of key issues relating to women in the Islamic faith, specific details of Muslim women in different historical periods, relevant excerpts from the Qur'an, student activities and a glossary and bibliography. Launched April 2003
24 FAIR Various

FAIR is a public relations group whose aim it is to promote a positive and harmonious relationship between Muslims and the wider community in Australia. FAIR's objective is also to preserve civil liberties for Australian Muslims, protect religious and social rights and eliminate religious bigotry by tackling ignorance about Islam. FAIR publishes its own newspaper called Australia Fair and operates its own media and research centre to carry out media monitoring, issue press releases and plan media strategies.

For more information see: www.fair.org.au

Founded 2003
25 Granville Public School and Parent and Community Arabic Mentoring Program The project linked young Arab boys with successful older male Arab teenagers who work and live in the local area as a path to defusing local community tensions. The teenagers worked as mentors in school with the target group, whilst mothers of the mentorees were linked to other Arab mothers who will in turn, help them with parenting issues. 2002-03
26 Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Australia funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant Sharing the Spirit of Harmony

The project aimed to promote racial and religious unity amongst young people (aged 15-25 years) of different ethnic backgrounds (including Lebanese, Sudanese and Egyptian) from the Melkite Catholic Eparchy of Australia together with broader youth communities in the Bankstown and Canterbury Local Government Areas.

For more information see:
www.immi.gov.au/multicultural/
harmony/grants2002/grant5.htm

2002-03
27 Muslim Women's National Network of Australia funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant Building Networks and Understanding Between Journalism Students and Muslims

This project seeks to increase knowledge about Islam amongst mainstream media by running seminars for journalism students at several NSW Universities. Other activities will aid in the development of professional networks between these students and the broader Muslim community. As part of this project a 'Harmony Day Event' was also organised on 16 April 2004 in partnership with the Daily Telegraph to give the community and people interested in journalism the opportunity to meet journalists from the Daily Telegraph and share information and thoughts on the impacts of reporting on the community as well as to gain insight into how the media works.

For more information see: www.mwnna.org.au/events/Evt_journalism1.htm

2003-04
28 National Council of Churches In Australia funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant Journey of Promise

The project brings together young people in Sydney (Jews/Muslims/Christians) to explore issues and to experience each others faiths and cultures (including Indigenous). Experiences will be filmed for broadcasting and use in the community. Activities include a week long residential, inter-faith visits, participation in diverse religious festivals and a day of reflection.

For more information see: www.ncca.org.au/dov/journey_of_promise

2003-04
29 NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (NSW ADB) Arabic and Islamic Community Education Initiative

Two Arabic speaking education officers were appointed to the NSWADB for a six month term to work with Arabic and Islamic communities on a range of projects aimed at combating anti-Arabic and anti-Islamic sentiment. Projects included developing an education kit, providing education sessions in communities and preparing informative material in Arabic to assist Arabic speakers deal with harassment and discrimination. The team conducted 26 community training sessions addressing 1 672 individuals, mostly in Arabic. There were 6 training sessions for community workers and service providers with 173 participants, as well as attendance at information days at Migrant Resource Centres and informal networking. The team also produced a referral poster to assist community workers to refer clients appropriately when they are dealing with discrimination matters.

For more information see:
www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/
adb.nsf/pages/ar0203_e
ducating_the_community

February - July 2003
30 NSW ADB Advance Australia Fairly Project

The project's objective was to, 'offer various perspectives, as well as encourage discussion, about migration, racism and community identity in New South Wales.' The project tackled the issues of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice and discrimination in Australia within a broader anti-racism framework. The project was made up of several components:

  • Release of a series of postcards (October-December 2002) profiling diverse NSW citizens, including a post-card of diverse religious leaders (including a photograph of an Imam). Avant Cards reported that one of the most popular cards was the card featuring religious leaders 'highlighting the need for this type of message and its broad appeal in all venue types'
  • Establishment of a website with 'online profiles' of culturally diverse Australians
  • A seminar series: Beyond these Walls held 18 October 2002 which included the session 'Arab and Muslim Australians: under siege?' and 'We Interrupt this Program' held on 29 November 2002 which included workshops for community groups on countering negative media portrayals.
  • 'Race for the Headlines' released 13 March 2003. The report examined the way media in NSW have reported race issues, specifically to media representations of Muslim and Middle-Eastern Australians in the local and national press.

For more information see:
www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/adb/
aaf.nsf/pages/index

October 2002-March 2003
31 NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) Youth Partnerships with Arabic Speaking Communities - Education Initiatives

As part of the NSW Premier's Department's Youth Partnerships program, the NSW DET are involved in implementing education initiatives that support youth of Arabic speaking background in schools in Bankstown, Granville, Liverpool and St George districts. These include:

  • Gateways: aims to increase the retention, participation and completion of schooling to Year 12 of 200 students at risk
  • Homework Plus: establishes four Homework Plus centres to provide after hours literacy and numeracy support to identified students
  • School to Work: develops stronger links between schools and local Arabic speaking employers
  • Machismo: designed to improve communication skills and build self-esteem among boys

For more information see: www.youthpartnership.nsw.gov.au/
education.html

2001-2004
32 NSW Premier's Department with involvement from CRC for a Multicultural NSW, NSW DET, NSW Department of Community Services, NSW Police, Bankstown Health and the University of Western Sydney Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities

Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities project is a joint initiative between community representatives from Arabic speaking communities, business leaders and the State Government. The Partnership has three objectives:

  • promote the well being of young people from Arabic speaking backgrounds
  • increase parent support and education to help prevent risk taking behaviour
  • provide children and young people with better learning opportunities and recreational activities for long term personal development

The project focuses primarily on a population of 110,000 people of Arabic speaking background living in 10 Local Government Areas in Sydney's West and South-West. 17 projects, programs and initiatives have been funded under the auspices of the Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities project. A broad range of specific programs are managed by six NSW government agencies and cover five key areas:

1. Youth Liaison Teams who interact with young people in places where they gather and try to make positive connections with young people or situations where young people may take part in anti-social or risk-taking behaviour

2. Education initiatives to strengthen school and community relations, reduce truancy and behavioural problems and assist young people with learning.

3. Parent support to ensure they are appropriate and accessible to the needs of Arabic speaking families and facilitate specific initiatives to raise awareness and improve services to parents and families to help them parent

4. Sport and recreation and cultural initiatives which aim to engage young people in sport, recreation and cultural activities to reduce boredom and develop confidence and self-esteem

5. Establishment of a 'Community Trust' where community and corporate sponsorships can be obtained for specific projects (in addition to the funds allocated by the NSW Government for the initiative)

For more information see:
www.youthpartnership.nsw.gov.au

2001-2004
33 NSW Premier's Department Canterbury-Bankstown Place Project

This is one of a series of 'Place Projects' which aim to build and maintain community harmony in specific areas by bringing together community leaders, state and local government agencies to make commitments and decisions about future directions of their local community. The project arose from concerns about crime prevention and fear of crime stemming from the 1998 attacks on the Lakemba police station and compounded by a series of gang rapes in 2000. 'Leading the Way' Canterbury-Bankstown Youth Leadership Forum was one of the initiatives held to encourage an active role for young people as community builders, giving them a voice on issues in Canterbury-Bankstown and providing them with positive leadership training. The main features of the forum consisted of a series of practical workshops that helped develop and encourage positive leadership skills of young people which included using the media to promote positive images of young people and building community harmony. Another major initiative of this project will be the creation of a community harmony round table that will bring together representatives of the significant communities of different ages and cultures in the area.

For more information see:
www.communitybuilders.nsw.gov.au/
solutions/canterbury/can.html

2004 - ongoing
34 NSW Premier's Department with CRC for a Multicultural NSW Forum 'Islam in a Multi-faith Australia'

NSW Premier's Department initiative to inform the wider community about Islam, the Muslim experience in Australia and how communities, particularly our religious communities, interact with each other. Speakers included Premier Carr, representatives from Anglican, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim and Jewish faiths, select academics and members of the media. A brochure entitled 'Islam in a multi-faith Australia' was distributed at the forum.

For more information see:
www.crc.nsw.gov.au/press/
2001/islamforumprem.htm

27 November 2001
35 NSW Premier's Department with CRC for a Multicultural NSW Unity in Adversity Assembly Assembly of leaders convened by NSW Premier to send a message of compassion in the wake of September 11 and the ensuing war against terrorism. Participants included major NSW political parties including all NSW Ministers and Shadow Cabinet, representatives from the Consular Corps in NSW and major religious leaders. The representatives signed an affirmation condemning all acts of terrorism encouraging people to 'act generously, humanely and with compassion in fulfilling our proud citizenship of Australia'. 15 November 2001
36 NSW Premier's Department, Community Solutions and Crime Prevention Strategy (Special Projects Division) Muslim Women's Safety Project The project aims to improve community safety and access to services for Muslim women and young people who face negative community stereotypes and social isolation in the Warrawong/Berkeley local government areas. The project has employed a full time worker, supported by a part-time youth worker, to enable women and youth to negotiate culturally appropriate services to improve their safety and wellbeing and improve community harmony. 2003-2005
37 North Shore Peace and Democracy Open Minds, Open Doors - 'Muslims and Christians sharing common values and living together in friendship' This is a Muslim-Christian Interfaith community dialogue organised by a group called North Shore Peace and Democracy and convened by Manly Catholic Social Justice Group, Islamic Society of Manly Warringah and Australia/Pacific Centre for Moral Re-Armament (MRA) - Initiatives of Change. The dialogue addressed the question of the ability of people from different religious communities to live side by side. Specific questions addressed at the gathering included whether there are important values we share in common which transcend differences and by which the community can benefit, and what are the values that are important for Muslims and Christians? May 2004
38 Rockdale City Council Various initiatives

A number of initiatives have been undertaken by the Rockdale City Council including:

  • Racism and discrimination are identified in the Draft Social Plan for Rockdale - Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Residents, particularly addressing the effect of September 11 and Post Bali bombing on Rockdale's Arab and Muslim communities. Consultations were conducted with the Arab and Muslim communities living in the area. To counter the effects of these events, the Council is working with the Regional Violence Prevention Worker and local Islamic women's groups, including Al Zahra Islamic Council and Al Zahra Muslim Women's Association to address the issue of discrimination and harassment of Muslim women.
  • 'Growing Peace in Rockdale' public forum held in October 2003. An initiative of the Columban Mission Institute Centres for Christian-Muslim Relations, and Peace, Ecology and Justice. The forum was organised by the Council in partnership with Al Zahra Muslim Women's Association, St. George Area Local Command, and AIF. The aim of the forum was to promote peace and mutual understanding among people at a local level.

For more information see February 2004 community newsletter at:
www.rockdale.nsw.gov.au/docs/
council_documents/
council_documents.html

 
39 St Joseph's College (Hunters Hill) funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant Muslim - Christian Young People's Dialogue

Project to expand links between St Joseph's Catholic School and a local high school (Wiley Park Girls' High) (with a 97% Muslim population) to address interfaith understanding. Activities will include seminars, school visits, with reports back to whole of school communities.

For more information see April 2003 newsletter at:
www.joeys.org/about/
collegenews.htm

2003-04
40 St. George Migrant Resource Centre, in partnership with Rockdale City Council and St. George Police 'Understanding Arabic Speaking and Muslim Communities in the St. George Area' seminar This seminar was conducted for all service providers working with Arabs and Muslims living in the St George area. September 2003
41 St. George Migrant Resource Centre, funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grant St. George LIH Project - 'Combating Racism'

The project included a number of initiatives and phases:

  • A series of workshops with young people from the St. George area on issues of racism and harmony and the creation of a short play that carried an anti-racism message analysed how racism operates within Australian society and the impacts this may have on young people. Participants were from Chinese, South Pacific/Maori and Arabic speaking backgrounds. Almost half of the participants were from an Arabic speaking background, many of whom were Muslim.
  • An extended anti-racism forum which was attended by over 100 young people from 11 local high schools was held over two days and provided an opportunity for participants, some of whom ran the workshops, to debate racism and discuss strategies to combat racism.
  • A play called 'SNIPE' was created and performed at five different events.

A package has been developed for distribution upon request and includes a video and reports documenting all phases of the project as well as the script of the play.

2003
42 United Muslim Women's Association Inc. (MWA) Cross-cultural/ Religious awareness seminars

The MWA delivered cross-cultural awareness training session for service providers from local, state and federal agencies whose clients include Muslim women. In 2002, the MWA, with support from Bankstown City Council (Community Grants Program) delivered several sessions to local service providers. In 2003, MWA conducted over 100 cross cultural/religious training sessions/ information sessions to schools, community and women's health centres, sexual assault services, Centrelink offices, Legal Aid offices, Councils, TAFEs and universities and police services.

For more information see:
www.mwa.org.au/SEMINAR.htm

Ongoing
43 MWA with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Shopfront Muslim Women and Employment in NSW Study

Students from the University of Technology, Sydney's Faculty of Business, together with the MWA conducted a research project into the employment experiences of Muslim women in NSW. The report aimed to: establish the main type of workplaces in which Muslim women worked; determine whether the qualifications of Muslim women reflect their current positions of employment and determine the employment satisfaction and possible barriers to employment of women currently in paid employment and unemployed women currently seeking paid employment. The report found that Muslim women who are currently employed are experiencing few barriers and are generally satisfied in their current position of employment. However, for those seeking employment, a majority of respondents reported difficulties in finding employed and perceived significant barriers in gaining employment due to their status as Muslim women.

For more information see:
www.mwa.org.au/Study
%20Muslim%20Women&
Employment.htm

2002
44 Wollongong City Council Different Faiths, One Vision: Harmony This project aims to provide inter-faith forums where local community relations issues can be discussed and strategies devised to maintain and promote Wollongong as a vibrant and harmonious city. The inter-faith forums will: identify the extent of local community religious intolerance, racial vilification and general disharmony, draw upon local cultural and religious expression as positive images and facilitate a community-owned and driven process to promote community harmony, civic participation and pride. The major outcome of this inter-faith project will be an 'Inter-Faith Community Harmony Kit' for use by whole of community as a means of reducing religious intolerance. 2003-04
  Victoria (VIC)

 

   
45 Australian Arabic Council (AAC) Racism Register The AAC operates a 'Racism Register' to monitor and document all incidents of anti-Arab racism including hate crimes, discrimination, vilification, threats, violence, vandalism and propaganda against Arabic Australians, or Arabic culture generally. The AAC was the only community organisation to have been collecting data on incidents of racism and vilification prior to September 11 providing a useful comparator for the level of pre and post-September 11 discrimination and vilification against Arab-Australians. The AAC recorded a 20-fold increase in reports of vilification to the national racism register, with the majority of people affected being women and children. Ongoing
46 AAC funded by the AMF, Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), Healthy Communities and Victoria Premier's Drug and Prevention Council 'The Arabs in World History' Booklet

This booklet is one of many ongoing publications and projects that aim to combat ignorance regarding the Arabic language, culture, and highlight the rich history and positive contributions of Australians of Arabic background today. It accompanies other teaching resources on Arab history and the experiences of Arab and Indigenous youth in Australia. This booklet includes information about the contributions that Arabs have made in the golden age, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, architecture, art and music and philosophy. This is a free booklet and has been distributed widely throughout Australia. A copy can be obtained from the AAC.

For more information see:
www.aac.org.au

September 2003
47 Australian Lebanese Welfare Incorporated 'Passage to Safety' Book In the wake of September 11 and after the 'Tampa Crisis', in an effort to increase an understanding of what an asylum seeker is and break down misconceptions about refugees and to help empower the existing Iraqi women's support group, funding was obtained from the Hume City Council's Community Grants for a testimonial project where members of the group documented their stories about their lives in Iraq, including their decision to leave Iraq and their experiences of the journey to Australia as asylum seekers and in refugee camps, and how they arrived in Australia and their experiences here. The book was published and distributed widely to organisations and individual community members. 2001
48 Australian Lebanese Welfare Incorporated Settlement services to newly-arrived Arabic-speaking refugees and migrants, especially women Project addressed the settlement needs of newly arrived Arabic refugees and migrants, especially women in metropolitan Melbourne. It provided an outreach service in Hume to support isolated and disadvantaged Arabic newly-arrived refugees and migrants through provision of direct services such as information and referral, supportive advice and counselling, and will initiate support groups for women to access mainstream services in Moreland and Hume. The project also addressed the settlement needs of Arabic speaking youth in Melbourne. 2001-02
49 City of Greater Dandenong Interfaith Network of the City of Greater Dandenong

The Network is active in promoting harmony among different faiths and cultures in Dandenong and conducts tours of places of worship as well as faith presentations aimed at informing the public about each faith and removing the fear of 'otherness'. The Network is also working on production of an education/information video to be shown in schools, shopping centres and organisations depicting everyday elements of practicing faiths to help remove the fear of 'otherness'. The Interfaith Network have published a document, Many Faiths: One People, which sets out a brief history and activities of the Network and gives a summary of the major tenets of major religious faiths including Islam. The Network also helped establish a multi-denominational 'Sacred Space' in the Dandenong Hospital where patients and families of all religions can pray, meditate and grieve in a culturally appropriate space.

For more information see: www.greaterdandenong.com/infopage

1989 - present
50 Darebin City Council Cramer Street Neighbourhood Project: Working, Living and Caring Together The project promoted harmony between people of Muslim and Christian religions and between people from a range of cultural and racial backgrounds who live in Melbourne's inner north. It aimed to tackle the underlying racism against Muslim and Arab people, especially demonstrated since Sept 11. Local neighbourhood groups worked together to plan and participate in a range of activities to education about certain religious and cultural events. 2002-03
51 Darebin Ethnic Communities Council Faith: The Art of Believing Local youth in Preston will create videos exploring various religions (including Indigenous) and capture diverse expressions of faith as experienced by young people. The project aims to generate dialogue, awareness and understanding of contemporary concepts of faith, address prejudice and dispel myths about certain religious groups. The videos will become a local resource for schools/libraries to address the prejudice that surrounds certain religious groups. 2003-04
52 Ecumenical Migration Centre (EMC), Brotherhood of St. Laurence Given the Chance Program

'Given the Chance Program' has some funding through the Victorian Department of Human Services' Community Strengthening Unit, the Victorian Women's and the Invergowrie Foundation, a private trust set up to promote and advance education for women and girls in Victoria. The program was developed in 2001 and began running in October to December 2002. It is designed specifically for refugees, temporary and permanent visa holders, and involves getting mentors for women on the program through corporate and government organisations. The mentors, mostly from corporate businesses, and the work experience supervisors are trained in cultural awareness and about refugees. As part of the program, EMC was also running a public speaking program throughout June 2003 where participants are invited to speak to the ANZ Women's Corporate Unit in July 2003. In addition, along with the local community legal centre, EMC also held sessions where women are taught safety procedures and how to keep themselves safe from any form of harassment.

For more information see: www.bsl.org.au/main.asp?PageId=565

2001 - ongoing
53 Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria (EOCV) 'Stand up to Racism'

The EOCV collaborated with Diversity Victoria and VicHealth to develop and deliver a community education campaign urging all Victorians to 'stand up to racism'. The campaign was designed to discourage the rise in racial and religious vilification and abuse towards Australians from Muslim and Arabic communities following the attacks in the United States and publicity surrounding Australia's refugee policy. Over 1000 campaign kits were sent to businesses, not for profit organisations and individuals urging them to stand up to racism by holding events, distributing campaign material (stickers, posters, fridge magnets). Kits contained fact sheets on cultural diversity and Muslim communities in Australia, tips on writing media releases and attracting media attention (as well as media contacts), summaries of key anti-racism messages and quotes and campaign posters and stickers.

For more information see:
www.eoc.vic.gov.au/aboutus/outreach/
standuptoracism.html

November 2001
54 EOCV Arabic-speaking Communities Education Project

In November 2001, the EOCV appointed an Arabic-speaking community educator to inform Muslim and Arabic-speaking groups throughout Victoria of their rights and responsibilities under Victoria's anti-discrimination laws (including the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act) and of complaint handling processes. The EOCV took on the project in response to concerns raised in consultation with Arabic communities about their experiences of discrimination, harassment and vilification following Sept 11. The project ran for 10 months.

For more information see:
www.standuptoracism.com.au

2001-02
55 EOCV Introduction of Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic) (RRTA) The EOCV issued a series of information sheets about the new law and together with the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs (VOMA) and the VMC; it took part in community briefing forums to explain the law to community groups. 2002
56 Hume City Council Hume City Faith Leaders' Network In 2001, religious leaders in Hume formed a Hume City Faith Leaders' Network to promote cross-cultural and religious understanding. The Faith Leaders' Network provided considerably support and leadership to Council and Hume citizens following September 11. In April 2003, the Council convened a working group of local community representatives, social support organisations, government agencies and faith leaders to address the local impact of the war in Iraq. 2001 - present
57 Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) Hate Crimes Register

The ICV acted to safeguard the security and wellbeing of Muslims in Victoria against any backlash attacks by setting up a 'Helpline' and circulating advice for Islamic organisations and individuals on security and safety issues. Community members were encouraged to call the 'Helpline' to report and seek advice and referrals following incidents that involve threats to safety, security and discrimination, vilification, intolerance and hostility.

For more information see:
www.icv.org.au

2001
58 Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria (IWWCV) SILC (Self Esteem, Identity, Leadership, Community) Project

Three-year community education program to develop the capacity of Muslim women in the parenting, employment, and community leadership and education arenas. This project takes a rights based approach to building the capacity of the Muslim communities by first building the capacity of Muslim women. This program provides intensive skill development and personal development group work programs for women from Arabic speaking, Horn of Africa and Turkish communities. Funded by the Department of Family and Community Services.

For more information see:
home.vicnet.net.au/~iwwcv/ or
www.mwnna.org.au/newsletter/content4.htm

2003-06
59 IWWCV and Melbourne City Council Muslim Women's Safety Project The City of Melbourne has funded the IWWVC to conduct research into the safety of Muslim and Arabic women residing in the City of Melbourne. The research has been commissioned to assess the nature and extent of attacks against women, to identify the range of responses undertaken by state and local government, community organisations and the Muslim community and to identify ways that the Muslim and Arabic communities can be supported in relation to racial and religious based crimes and vilification. 2003-04
60 Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne) Communities Together Project aims to address and increase inter-faith understanding of Islam by establishing a link between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in the region (Mitcham). The strategy aims to provide educational programs in key secondary and primary schools in the region, particularly those with a significant number of Muslim students, hold inter-faith forums and social opportunities for Muslim and non-Muslim families. 2003-04
61 Moreland City Council Moreland Interfaith Gathering

The Interfaith Gathering includes representatives from Moreland's Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Indian and Eastern Orthodox religions. The group's purpose is to build trust between leaders of faith communities, work together towards agreed goals and take part in activities that involve faith communities providing examples of respect, acceptance and cooperation to the wider community.

For more information see:
www.moreland.vic.gov.au

1996 -present
62 Northern Migrant Resource Centre (NMRC) Various initiatives

In response to the 'Tampa Crisis' and the effects of September 11 and the Bali Bombing, the NMRC undertook a number of initiatives including:

  • Understanding Islam Profiles. These were workshops on Islam delivered by the Arabic Community Settlement Worker. The worker and the workshops were both were developed after being accredited by the Board of Imams in Victoria.
  • The NMRC has been particularly involved in organising and initiating activities and events which demonstrate support to the Muslim refugee community, such as commemorative events for the Iraqi refugees whose boat capsized off the Australian shores in 2001
  • The NMRC held a self funded Harmony Day Breakfast with the Darebin City Council which involved a hypothetical on issues of refugees and the journeys of asylum seekers.

For more information see:
www.mrcne.org.au/aboutmrc.html

2001 - 2003
63 Office of the Premier of Victoria Racial harmony advertisements On December 6, 2001 the Premier announced a television advertisement campaign promoting racial harmony as part of the education campaign to introduce the RRTA. The advertisement featured Victorians from a wide range of cultures, religions and backgrounds, and was screened for six months free to air as a Community Service Announcement by all television networks in Melbourne and regional Victoria, including commercial stations Channel 7 and 9 who agreed to broadcast it more frequently than usual Community Service Announcements. On 18 March 2003 the Premier re-launched the advertisements for another six months. 2001-2003
64 Office of the Premier of Victoria Multi-faith Gathering In the immediate aftermath of September 11 2001 the Premier of Victoria met with religious leaders from the Muslim, Jewish, Anglican, Uniting and Coptic Orthodox faiths and announced a multi-faith gathering to be held on 20 September 2001 to mourn those killed in the New York and Washington attacks. More than 15,000 Victorians attended the gathering, including representatives from Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Baha'i and Christian communities. 20 September 2001
65 RMIT University Holy Sites, Holy Cities The project focused on Melbourne's outer north-western region and flowed out of September 11. It was aimed at defusing cultural and religious bigotry and increasing inter-faith understanding and interaction between religious schools from the Catholic and other Christian and Islamic traditions and producing protocol for interaction between religious schools that may be applied across Australia. 2002
66 Victoria Police Arabic Language and Culture Course for police officers

In partnership with Victorian Arabic Social Services (VASS), Victoria Police ran an Arabic Language and Culture Course for police officers, based on a similar successful program in Vietnamese. The course comprised a series of presentations from community members on important Arabic family, religious and cultural values.

For more information see: www.vass.org.au/CrossCulturalTraining.htm

2003-04
67 Victoria Police Various

Following commencement of the war on Iraq, Victoria Police took a number of steps to minimise racially/religious motivated incidents and more effectively deal with such incidents reported to police. Steps undertaken included:

  • Formal consultations by all Regional Assistant Commissioners, Multicultural Liaison Officer (MLOs) and the Victoria Police Multicultural Advisory Unit, with groups and communities likely to be affected by the war in Iraq or other related incidents prompted by domestic or overseas events
  • Victoria Police issued formal operating instructions to police on how to effectively respond to racially/religious motivated incidents. This included the development of a poster of a flow chart of complaint processes for racial and religious vilification placed in all police stations all over Victoria.
  • Victoria Police, in cooperation with multicultural communities, initiated an Register that records racially/religious motivated incidents. The Register is ongoing and records all such incidents reported to Police through internal police data and community information. Groups and communities identified as more vulnerable to vilification were invited to provide direct input into the Register. These included ICV, AAC, the VASS and the Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria
  • The Police and Community Multicultural Advisory Committee (PACMAC) co-chaired by the Deputy Commissioner Operations and the Victorian Multicultural Commission's Chairman, discussed in detail and supported all above initiatives, concurrently urging the multicultural communities to exercise restraint and cooperate with police by reporting all incidents to the authorities
  • Victoria Police have worked to design a hijab as part of police uniform for new Muslim women recruits who wear the hijab. They have also examined rules, regulations and training programs to allow the transition of the first Muslim woman police officer in Australia who wears the hijab.

For more information see:
www.police.vic.gov.au

2003
68 Victoria Police - Region 3 Multicultural Liaison Officers (MLO) Port Folio (P/F) Project An initiative of the Victoria Police Region 3, District 1, with the aim of strengthening partnerships and working relationships between the local community organisations, such as the Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) and the police and building trust in the community of police. The initiative involves each MLO having to attend one day a fortnight at the local community agency such as the MRC, and will do so on a rotational roster system. Although this project is very new, it is also envisaged that the P/F holder would be the initial contact member for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) public reporting matters to police, and provide advice only, and direct community members to the respective police regarding making a report of a particular matter, informing them also of particular processes that they may need to take. The P/F people are not to take on matters reported for investigation unless they wish to do so and it's in their area. P/F holders would also try to use workers at the agency to assist in initial interpreting or use telephone interpreting service. This provides an opportunity for the P/F holder to engage with the CALD communities and workers and to establish their own networks. This reporting method at agencies established will also allow CALD community people to feel more comfortable in reporting crimes that may otherwise go unreported. All police will also receive training in the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act. 2004
69 VASS (funded by the Victoria Police Multicultural Affairs Unit (MAU)) Arabic Culture and Language Course

This is a training course on Arabic Culture and Language that targets Victoria Police. The first training course delivered in October 2002 was attended by about 30 police. It has been developed in partnership with the Victoria Police MAU, and is delivered by VASS and involves is run over 4 days with a total of 24 hours. It enables participants to gain better understanding of the Arab world, history, and geography, Arabic migration to Australia, Arabic traditions and customs, issues of concern to women, youth, men and the elderly. Police officers also get to know about the system of policing in Arabic countries, and to try and devise strategies for better relations with the Arabic community in Victoria. The course also includes 4 hours of introduction to the Arabic language and some basic Arabic words and conversation. The third training course was recently delivered in early May 2004 to members and police officers of Cobram Police Station in an attempt to strengthen the links between police and the region's Iraqi community. This session was initiated by the Ethnic Communities Council of Shepparton and the Victorian Police MAU.

For more information see:
www.vass.org.au/CrossCulturalTraining.htm

2002 - ongoing
70 VASS Anti-Racism Action Band - Youth leadership and capacity training project

The project involves running workshops with young people of Arabic speaking backgrounds at a negotiated school time. Workshops address topics such as rights, obligations, citizenship, identity, self esteem, knowledge as power, anti-racism, public performance and speaking, and leadership.

For more information see:
www.vass.org.au/resources/ARAB.doc

October 2003 -October 2004
71 VASS Various initiatives on working with schools

Through its Settlement Facilitation Program, which is funded by DIMIA, VASS assisted the set up of an Arabic Parents Association (APA) at Brunswick Secondary College. Members of the APA meet with the Vice Principal once a month to openly discuss concerns and issues such as racism which parents and students feel affect their children. The settlement program aims at assisting the school's newly-arrived students and parents in their settlement process through a social-connectedness approach, peer support and educational and recreational sessions and activities. VASS is currently in the process of developing a resources kit for schools which includes various educational resources and support material for the teaching of the Arabic language, culture, history, contributions to society, etc.

For more information see:
www.vass.org.au/projects.htm

2002 - ongoing
72 VASS 'Arab Australians: Taking a Stand' Conference

Funded by DIMIA under the LIH grants, this national conference discussed ways to improve the welfare of Arab communities in Australia through raising awareness of issues which are affecting Australians of Arabic descent, such as unemployment, bullying and dangerous youth behaviour, raising children in the Australian environment, the changing role of men, and women achieving their full potential, and citizenship, identity and belonging.

For more information see:
www.vass.org.au/resources/
arab%20conference%20MR.doc

31 October 2002
73 Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) Monitoring group and hotline

Following September 11, the VMC coordinated a working group of representatives from Arabic and Islamic communities, the DET, DIMIA, Victoria Police, the EOCV and the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs to monitor ongoing developments and improve responses. The working group developed a range of recommendations including:

  • The establishment of an Arabic community helpline;
  • Special consideration be given to students of Islamic faith or Arabic-speaking backgrounds for exams/assessment; and
  • The distribution of multicultural education information in schools.

In October 2001, an Arabic community helpline was established, staffed by bilingual counsellors. The helpline ran for three months, enabling people to report incidents, seek support and receive referrals to appropriate agencies. Approximately 30 calls were received, most relating to disputes between neighbours and random abuse.

2001
74 VMC Community grants

VMC provided financial support to Arabic and Islamic community organisations to enable them to better assist their members during crises and also in the longer term. Grants awarded through the VMC's Community Grants Program to Islamic and Arabic communities in 2002 included:

  • ICV: Carrying out of a services and needs audit of the Victorian Muslim community based in West Melbourne;
  • Craig Family Centre and Parkhill Primary School: Engagement of a support worker to work with the South Sudanese and Afghan communities;
  • Afghan-Australian Public Servants Association Inc.: Provision of language and advice services for new arrivals;
  • Horn of Africa Women's Group: Support for migrant parents adapting to a new environment;
  • Islamic Society of Victoria: Bringing women's groups together irrespective of culture and religion;
  • Moreland Turkish Educational and Social Affairs Centre Inc. in partnership with Australian Denizli Association.
  • VASS Community capacity building purposes.

For more information see:
www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/index.htm

2002
75 VMC Public forum to discuss 'The role of faith in building a harmonious multicultural society'.

To commemorate the first anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the VMC, together with SBS Radio, the AMF, the World Conference on Religions for Peace and the City of Melbourne hosted a public forum to discuss 'The role of faith in building a harmonious multicultural society.' Panellists included representatives of six faiths (Judaism, Aboriginal Spirituality, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism), the Chief Commissioner of Police, Christine Nixon and Professor Gary Bouma.

For more information see: www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/publications/
multicultural_victoria/archive/newslettervol9_2a.htm

11 September 2002
76 VMC Community grants Immediately following the commencement of war in Iraq, the government provided funding to the Iraqi, Assyrian, Chaldean and Kurdish community groups to help them develop support services. The funding was used for a range of projects such as training and briefing sessions for schools across selected regions, grief counselling and the establishment of a telephone helpline for people affected by the war in Iraq. 2003
77 VMC Community leaders summit and accord

On 26 June 2002 community leaders participated in a Community Roundtable and, as a symbolic gesture, signed a Community Accord declaring their commitment to the promotion of racial and religious equality. The document was tabled in Parliament. Following the Community Roundtable, a Community Leaders Summit was held in September 2002 to progress, in a practical way, the intentions detailed in the Community Accord. The Summit attracted more than 50 participants representing over 40 different cultural and religious groups. Sessions and workshops included:

  • Race Vilification and Inter-cultural Communal Leadership
  • Religion, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion
  • Promoting and Demonstrating Tolerance and Respect for other Cultures
  • Inter-faith and Inter-racial Cooperation
  • Future Directions
2002
78 Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs (VOMA) Campaign to launch Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act (RRTA)

The RRTA was enacted on 1 January 2002 to protect Victorians from vilification on the basis of their race or religion, and provide means of redress. The introduction of the RRTA was accompanied by a comprehensive community information and education campaign (Many Backgrounds, All Victorians) to raise awareness and understanding of the RRTA and Victorians' rights and responsibilities under the Act. The campaign included:

  • Press and radio advertising in community languages;
  • Racial and religious tolerance information kits with a range of information material and a 'what you need to know' fact sheet translated into 23 community languages;
  • Specific interest group briefings; and
  • A series of community briefing forums

For more information see:
www.mau.vic.gov.au/domino/
web_notes/voma/vomasite.nsf/
Frameset/VOMA?OpenDocument

2002
  Queensland (QLD)      
79 Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) with Brisbane City Council 'Hand in Hand'

ADCQ partnership project with the Brisbane City Council funding multilingual workers to understand anti-discrimination laws in five community languages. "Hand in hand' pilot project involved focus groups structured as information and consultation sessions to people from Somalia, Vietnam, former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Phase 2 involved the employment of bilingual workers across communities to work with the Commission in presenting half-day information sessions on the Act, with a focus on race issues and complaint processes.

For more information see:
www.adcq.qld.gov.au/
newsletter/issue15/article6.html

2002
80 Queensland Police Service (QPS) (with funding from Department of Housing , Community Renewal Program) 'Opening Door' project

Project consisted of 33 information and follow up workshops between police and community groups in the Logan District south of Brisbane. At these workshops, community members described their experiences with police in their country of origin, were informed of the role, function and operation of the QPS and identified issues of concern. Workshops have included Muslim groups, Ahmadiyya Muslims, Sudanese, Romanian, young migrants and refugees and people from the former Yugoslavia. The Opening Doors project sought to reduce mistrust and perceived fear of police as well as raising police awareness of the experiences values and beliefs of Logan City Residents - 22% of whom were born overseas, 12% from non-English speaking background.

For more information see:
www.police.qld.gov.au/pr/news/
media/2003/december/specials/
excellence15.shtml

2002-2003
81 ADCQ with Brisbane City Council 'Racial and Religious Hatred - Know your Rights' card.

Following the Bali bombing in October 2002, Multicultural Affairs Queensland (MAQ) funded the ADCQ to jointly undertake a project to disseminate anti-vilification information to ethnic communities in Queensland. A series of rights cards in community languages and a leaflet in English were produced. The rights cards were printed in Arabic, Farsi, Bosnian, and Indonesian and have been directly distributed to community organisations.

For more information see:
www.adcq.qld.gov.au/main/
publications.html

2002-ongoing Developed by ADCQ and MAQ in late 2002 and distributed March 2003.
82 MAQ Anti-Racism Community Reference Group

Provides a mechanism for monitoring the community relations environment and developing strategies to respond to racial and religious vilification. A key initiative of the Anti-Racism Community Reference Group has been the development of the Community Relations Response Protocol. The Protocol sets out procedures to ensure that information about racist incidents is reported and communicated to the appropriate agencies. The Reference Group includes key government agencies, peak ethnic community organisations and representatives of the Islamic and Indonesian communities.

For more information see:
www.premiers.qld.gov.au/
multicultural/

October 2002 -ongoing
83 Islamic Women's Welfare Association of Queensland (IWAQ) 'Celebrating Muslim Women' Day One week after September 11, IWAQ organised 'Celebrating Muslim Women' Day, where people from mainstream and community organisations across Queensland were invited. The event was held at the Brisbane Showground and was entirely self-funded. 500 people from across Queensland attended. September 2001
84 MAQ Community Hotline The Hotline provided two key services. Firstly, it was a formal mechanism for members of the public to lodge complaints in relation to incidents of racism. Secondly, it provided a referral service, where appropriate, to the Islamic Women's Association, the Multicultural Development Association, Legal Aid, the ADCQ and Queensland Police Services. The Hotline was widely advertised in the metropolitan, regional and ethnic media as well as the MAQ magazine, Diversity Matters. However, it only received 16 calls, none from the Muslim community nor were any related to the events of September 11. The Hotline was discontinued in January 2002. October 2001 - January 2002
85 IWAQ Dahwah Training Course on Islam This is a train-the-trainer course where members of IWAQ undertook two five day courses designed to enhance Muslims' knowledge on Islam in order be able to train others and educate the community about Islam but also to empower women to answer questions that they may face about Islam such as 'why do you wear the hijab?' Topics also include 'Misconceptions on Islam'. 2002
86 MAQ Islamic community grant

Grant to the Islamic Women's Association of Queensland for a project to enhance the community capacity of isolated Muslim women.

For more information see:
www.premiers.qld.gov.au/
multicultural/

2000-2002
87 Premier of Queensland Various

Following the events of September 11 the Queensland Government responded promptly to minimise the backlash against the Muslim communities in Queensland. Key initiatives undertaken were:

  • The Premier spoke publicly in support of the Muslim community in Queensland and the need for understanding and acceptance of cultural and religious diversity
  • The Premier also met with the leaders of the Queensland Muslim community to reassure them that the majority of Queenslanders believe in religious freedom and that every step would be taken to ensure their safety and their right to practice their religion and manifest their beliefs without fear of reprisal
  • The Premier wrote to all Ministers and the Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet wrote to all Queensland Government Directors-General to urge them to promote positive community relations at every opportunity
  • Promotion of the Anti-Vilification Amendment Act 2001
  • A gift of $5,000 was made to the Kuraby Mosque which was burnt down on 22 September to replace children's school books and desks which were destroyed
  • A multi-faith gathering was held on 20 Sept 2001 at the Roma Street Parklands bringing together people from all religious denominations

For more information see:
www.premiers.qld.gov.au/

2001
  South Australia (SA)      
88 Jewish Community Council of South Australia, funded by DIMIA LIH Community Grants Program Project Abraham

Venture between the Jewish and Muslim communities of South Australia, the project involves a number of seminars to be held monthly on Sunday afternoons at the Adelaide Secondary School of English. Both local and interstate speakers from both religions will take part in the seminars. The series of educational seminars will explore the cultural and religious commonalities that Muslims and Jews share, and the last seminar has been scheduled for July 2004

For more information see:
www.eoc.sa.gov.au/public/
publicity_release.doc
and
www.immi.gov.au/harmony

February - July 2004
89 Muslim Women's Association of South Australia (MWA of SA) Various

MWA of SA has implemented the following strategies to counteract existing stereotypes and misconceptions about Muslims.

1. The provision of a cross-cultural training service available for service providers and schools. 66 sessions have been conducted from 2002-mid-2003

2. Responding to media, in particular talk back radio along with writing letters to the editors of Adelaide's newspapers. A general information session on Islam and the nature of the SA Muslim community is scheduled early next year for all sectors of the media

3. Encouraging SA schools to include the study of Muslims and Islam under the Society and the Environment curriculum. A resource package has been produced by the MWA to assist teachers (Women in Islam)

4. Established a buddy program where students from grade 1, 2 and 3 at the local Islamic College write letters to students from other schools and students meet at the end of each term. Emmanuel College, a local Catholic College, is also starting a program where two of their students will do community work experience at the Islamic College.

5. The staging of 4 Christian-Muslim dialogues open to the general public, in conjunction with the South Australian Council of Churches, Dialogues have attracted around 100 participants. More are scheduled.

MWA of SA have also published a Guide to the Needs of Muslims in the Community which covers basic principles of Islam, history of Muslims in SA then addresses the specific needs of Muslim students, the aged, the Muslim patient, death dying and bereavement and mental health needs.

2001 - ongoing
90 SA Attorney General/Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Multicultural SA Discussion paper on amending Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) to include religious discrimination and vilification

The SA Attorney-General published a detailed discussion paper outlining proposals for amendment of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) to cover discrimination and vilification on the grounds of religion. The paper acknowledged the sensitivity of this area and advised that only if there was consensus would the new law proceed. The discussion paper was sent to representatives of all faiths, religious schools, universities, peak bodies in multicultural and ethnic affairs, church affiliated organisations, businesses and workplace organisations, the courts and Govt officials such as the Public Advocate, Employees Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity. The paper attracted submissions from the representative bodies of most of the religions practiced in SA. Some of them supported the proposal or supported it with qualification. Others, including all the main Western Christian denominations such as the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the Greek Evangelical Church opposed it as did many Christian schools. Secular commentators such as the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, the Bar Association and the then SA Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission (now Multicultural SA) supported the proposal.

Although dialogue is continuing, the government has decided that because there is no consensus, it is not appropriate to proceed with the legislation.

For more information see:
www.eoc.sa.gov.au/public/
FAQs.doc

11 June 2002
91 SA Equal Opportunity Commission Media meeting

The SA Equal Opportunity Commissioner arranged a meeting with local representatives from the Muslim Women's Association (MWA) and the Editor and senior journalists from the Advertiser. The Commissioner acted as a conduit between the city's only daily newspaper and members of the MWA and introduced the issues to the Advertiser staff. The meeting provided an opportunity for the MWA to highlight their concerns at the way some of the stories were being reported about Arab and Muslim people in SA. One of the outcomes of the meeting was a commitment from the Advertiser to contact the MWA for their perspective on appropriate occasions.

2003
  Western Australia (WA)      
92 Dar Al Shifah (Islamic) Inc. The conference was sponsored by Dar Al Shifah House of Healing, Office of Multicultural Interests (OMI), City of Bayswater, Perth Mosque Inc and Ismail Ahmad Family Forum Forum at Perth Mosque for West Australian Muslims to identify and define their community, develop practical strategies and address the issues facing them, encourage active citizenship, raise awareness of resources available to them within Muslim and broader communities. The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of the contribution of Muslims in WA, identify and define issues and needs of the Muslim community and develop strategies to address these needs and issues. The conference included presentations from representatives of a number of government departments including OMI, Department of Community Development, Department of Justice, Department of Education, Department of Health and WA Police. Representatives gave presentations on their structure and functions to give the Muslim community insight into their operational processes with the hope that the community would access resources and networks helping to empower the community. The conference also included workshops in which Muslim community members had opportunities to discuss issues and find solutions. 22-23 February 2003
93 OMI Workshops

As part of WA's broader Anti-Racism Strategy, OMI delivered a series of workshops to help organisations in the public and private sector to understand religious and cultural sensitivities of their clients and employees. Five sessions covered Islamic, Sikh, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist religions. The sessions were in high demand and provided practical information on cultural practices, central principles of religious observance, events of significance and appropriate social behaviour for service delivery. The sessions also advanced intercultural and interfaith understanding.

For more information see:
www.omi.wa.gov.au/OMI_
Racism.asp

2002
94 Premier of WA Meeting with local television news editors and Muslim community leaders In the aftermath of 11 Sept 2001, the Premier of WA initiated a meeting between representatives from OMI, local television news editors and Muslim community leaders in order to dispel myths about Islam. At the meeting, there was a positive dialogue between parties focussed on bridging gaps in information and communication. News directors present were receptive to developing direct relationships with community leaders in an effort to present the news in an un-biased manner. 2001
95 Western Australian Islamic Network Open day Western Australian Islamic Network held an 'open day' for people interested to know more about Islam, in which they will visit the DAWA centre (Daawah Association of Western Australia) and one of the central mosques in Perth.) 12 January 2003
  Australian Capital Territory (ACT)      
96 Australian Federal Police (ACT Policing) Liaison with Muslim community Following September 11, ACT policing met on several occasions with members of the ACT Muslim community: The aim of these meetings was to assure the community that ACT Policing would continue to respond to its needs. In addition, senior offices participated in a community meeting held at a local Mosque to field questions from the community about policing in the ACT. 2001-ongoing
97 Canberra Islamic Centre (CIC) Various

The CIC has initiated and taken part in a range of different projects including the following:

  • An annual inter-faith dialogue conference with Muslim, Christian and Jewish community representatives
  • Seminars on Islam that disseminate information about Islamic law and culture
  • Commemoration Ceremonies - following September 11, the CIC invited the American Ambassador to the centre and invited people to express their condolences for the people killed in the September 11 attacks. The event received media coverage in the Canberra Times. The Centre planned a similar event after the Bali bombing
  • Radio Ramadan - an Islamic radio program coordinated and run by women with plans to train more women from the CIC to contribute on air

For more information see:
www.islam-australia.org

2001-
98 Chief Minister's Office Telephone Hotline Hotline established for people to confidentially report any incidents of vilification. To date, 24 calls received. Common themes have been concern over incidents during Ramadan, concern about possible war, incidents of women in hijab being targeted at shopping centres, car parks etc. with comments such as 'go back to your own country' or the use of 'Arab' as a swear word or put down by school and college students. November 2002
  Northern Territory (NT)      
99 Alice Springs Interfaith Network Various

The Interfaith Network was formed after September 11 to address possible issues of concern in the community. It meets monthly and works closely with Alice Springs Town Council. In May 2003, the Imam of the Alice Springs Islamic Centre was invited to open the town council meeting with a prayer recital from the Qur'an. This is part of an initiative of the Interfaith Network and the Town Council whereby each monthly meeting is opened with a prayer recital from different faith leaders. With cooperation from the Multicultural Community services of Central Australia, each network member signed a statement about livening in harmony and peace together in Alice Springs. This statement was signed, framed and presented to the Mayor and Town Council as a gift.

For more information see:
www.alicesprings.nt.gov.au/
council/pdf/cncl_minutes/2003/
Council_Minutes_031215.pdf

2001 - ongoing
100 Alice Springs Islamic Society Inc. Open day Post September 11, an open day was held at the Islamic Centre in Alice Springs to provide information on Islam and build trust with the broader community. The Islamic Centre also conducts tours of the mosque to school students. 2001
101 Islamic Society of the NT Inc. Interfaith Gathering Post September 11, an a cross-denominational gathering hosted by the Darwin Islamic Centre was attended by approximately 600 persons including police in a public display of community abhorrence at the attacks in the USA. 2001

 

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

AAC: Australian Arabic Council

AACC: Australian Arabic Communities Council

ACT Policing: Australian Federal Police

ADCQ: Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland

AFIC: Australian Federation of Islamic Councils

AFP: Australian Federal Police

AIF: Affinity Intercultural Foundation

AMF: Australian Multicultural Foundation

ANDCMJ: Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews

APA: Arabic Parents Association

APERO: Australian Partnership of Ethnic and Religious Organisations

APMAB: Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau

ATSI: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

CALD: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse

CIC: Canberra Islamic Centre

CRC: Community Relations Commission for a Multicultural NSW

DAWA: Daawah Association of Western Australia

DET: Department of Education and Training

DIMIA: Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs

EMC: Ecumenical Migration Centre

EOCV: Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria

FAIR: Forum on Australia's Islamic Relations

FECCA: Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia

ICV: Islamic Council of Victoria

IWAQ: Islamic Women's Welfare Association of Queensland

IWWCV: Islamic Women's Welfare Association of Victoria

LIH: Living in Harmony

MAQ: Multicultural Affairs Queensland

MAU: Multicultural Affairs Unit

MLO: Multicultural Liaison Officer

MRA: Australia/Pacific Centre for Moral Re-Armament

MWA: United Muslim Women's Association Inc.

MWA of SA: Muslim Women's Association of South Australia

MWNNA: Muslim Women's National Network of Australia

NMRC: Northern Migrant Resource Centre

NSW ADB: New South Wales Anti-Discrimination Board

OMI: Office of Multicultural Interests

P/F: Port Folio

PACMAC: Police and Community Multicultural Advisory Committee

QPS: Queensland Police Service

RMIT: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

RRTA: Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act

SBS: Special Broadcasting Service Corporation

SILC: Self Esteem, Identity, Leadership Community

TAFE: Technical and Further Education

The Commission: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

UTS: University of Technology Sydney

VASS: Victorian Arabic Social Services

VMC: Victorian Multicultural Commission

VOMA: Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs

Last updated 16 June 2004.